I’ve been a long time fan of his voice, songwriting skills and overall ear for what I would call beautiful music. It was with great grief that i learned that Mr. Elliot Smith had passed away… The reason that I write this jounal is to tell you all a nice story about me and Mr. Smith.
It took place on the 18th sep. 2001 in Los Angeles, USA. Me and my boys were going to LA to start the recordings of Frengers and had just arrived at our hotel. It was night, not late but still dark and we were sharring a beer on the balcony, trying to cope with our jetlag. Our producer Rich Costey was supposed to come by and say hallo and so he did. We talked a bit and after a while he said that he had to go to a studio somewhere in Hollywood to help out this guy record “Hey Jude”. I think I asked who it was and Rich told me he was called Elliot Smith… “ELLIOT SMITH??!!” Hold on, THE Elliot Smith??!! I’m comming with you!!… So here I was on my first night in fantastic LA, a little bit drunk and sooooo jetlagged… On my way to meet Mr. Smith, one of my few idols!!! Bloody Good!!
We arrived at the studio (that turned out to be the place where Prince did “Purple Rain”) and found Elliot, a gloomy looking guy with long greasy hair, bad skin and a knitted beanie on his head. Along with him was his Dad, his band and a bunch of hangarounds. Everybody seemed really down to say the least. Elliot just sat there and then said “Hallo I’m Elliot”. He spoke in the ecxact same soft, gentle voice that I knew and loved from his records. I must say that it really hurt me to see him in such a depressed stage and without ever knowing him as a person I could tell he was a very troubled soul. The session seemed to be stuck and nobody really knew what to do about it… So like the typical optimist I am, I tried to take charge of the session together with Rich, (I’d like to add that I probably wouldn’t have done this had I not been slightly under the influence of the King of Beers) but never the less it almost worked. At least we got Elliot motivated to recording the piano again, Rich fixed the drums and the spirit was higher all together at this point.
Hours had passed and I was almost falling asleep on the couch. But then happend, what I would call the climax of my night… Elliot asked all of us, and I mean everybody in the studio, including Rich and me, to do the “Na Na Na NaNaNa Naaaaaaaee, NaNaNa Naaaaaaaee Hey Jude” outro vocalpart together with him… It was pretty fucking wierd standing there, even more drunk and sleepy, screeming Pauls ode to Johns son in the middle of the night, in a room full of people I had never met before and realizing that I probably would remember this the rest of my life….
I think they eventully got the track finished without me and Rich but I don’t think the track ever made it on to the soundtrack. My facination of Elliot Smiths talent grew even bigger after that wonderfull, wierd evening, in a time when the world was threatning to fall apart…….
-You will be missed Mr. Smith